Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 14:01 UK

Wedding murder trial under way

Jim McFadden
Jim McFadden was beaten to death outside his Shantallow home

The trial of two men and a woman accused of murdering a Londonderry man outside his home has begun.

Jim McFadden, 42, from Moyola Drive in Shantallow, was beaten to death with his daughter's crutch after returning from a wedding on 5 May 2007.

James Oliver Meehan, 39, his wife Brenda, 40, and her son Sean Devenney, 21, are charged with the murder.

All three, who have an address at Dundrean Park, Derry, deny murdering Mr McFadden.

They are also charged with assaulting an 18-year-old youth, while Brenda Meehan is further charged with assaulting Ashling McFadden, the murder victim's 16-year-old daughter.

Opening the case for the prosecution, John Orr QC told the jury of seven women and five men at Londonderry Crown Court, sitting in Coleraine, that the events leading up to Mr McFadden's murder started at a wedding reception at the Redcastle hotel in County Donegal.

The lawyer said both the McFadden and Meehan families were guests at this wedding, at which Sean Devenney insulted Ashling McFadden.

'Wreck it'

He later apologised, Mr Orr said, but frictions between the two families continued.

The QC also said the taxi driver who took the Meehan family home will say in his evidence that he heard Brenda Meehan say she was "going to Shantallow to wreck it", adding that "nobody would talk down to her son".

The court heard that Mr McFadden died when his heart ruptured after he sustained a number of blows to his chest.

John Orr QC said the three accused had brutally beaten their victim and either kicked or stamped on his chest during the assault.

After their arrest the defendants told their solicitors that they had wanted to speak to the McFadden family to make peace following the incident at the wedding, Mr Orr added.

The trial continues.

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